Friday, December 30, 2005
O Come All ye Faithless
I love the Christmas season. For me, it is filled with joy and wonder. I am in awe that the God of the universe did what He did for us, and I love the celebratory feel that encompasses the days of preparation. I enjoy making our home beautiful, doing projects with Peregrine, getting together with our families, and exchanging gifts in honor of the Greatest Gift ever. I love the carols that proclaim Jesus, even on the public radio stations. When else can you be grocery shopping and hear about the Son of Righteousness, born to give us new birth, even if the checker at the same grocery store isn't allowed to say "Merry Christmas" to you?
But it seems that every year, as this joy rises in my heart, I become more acutely aware of the pain and suffering in this world. I feel this great struggle within me as I contemplate the wonders of the Messiah, the freedom He bought for us, and see so many people around me who are living in absolute bondage and misery because of sin. Why is there such a disconnect between the way things should be and the way things are? I have often looked around at church and been in distress about this - here we are proclaiming the Truth that sets us free and yet there is that person in so much pain, another couple on the brink of divorce, a single Mom struggling to raise her kids. I have sat in many services with tears rolling down my face, feeling the joy and feeling the pain. And beyond the people around me I see a world ravished by wars, disease and suffering. We are broken, seemingly beyond repair.
And this year, I think I see the disconnect in my own life more deeply than ever before. I so easily get irritated with my wonderful husband, too quickly get angry with Peregrine, and so often feel frustrated when the day doesn't go as I planned. I so want to be the woman who smiles at the future and has a school of kindness on my tongue, but more often I feel like I can't see beyond the moment and speak words of hurt. How often I am that foolish woman who tears down my house instead of builds it.
The long-awaited Savior has come, and by His life and death has saved us from our sins. If I feel this simultaneous joy and sorrow, then I wonder how He must feel as He watches His beloved people continue to struggle while He offers them freedom. I think it's a fragment of His heart He allows me to share, the surge of hope and the tug of pain. The hope that one day we will be free from this body of death, and the struggle of being rooted in this earth but a citizen of heaven. We are broken, but He continues to offer to make us whole. We are faithless, but He remains faithful. This is the mystery. It is the sick who need a doctor, the sinner who needs a Savior. It is the hopeless who need Hope, those who dwell in darkness who need the Light to dawn.
And so out of the despair rises hope. As I see the pain, the wars, the suffering, and my own sin, I realize more than ever that truly the only hope we have is because of that Baby born so long ago. His words are still true, and He lives and works to change us into His image. What response is there other than to worship Him, to lay all of my sin and my doubt at His feet? To cry "Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!" O Come all ye faithless, Come let us adore Him!